Turkish curling team makes headlines in Canada
Turkey has come to the forefront in the World Curling Championship in Canada after entering into the winter sport of curling professionally just six years ago, with the Canadian press and players praising the Turkish women’s national curling team for their splendid performance.
“Turkish team is no new in the international arena,” Toronto Sun daily reported on March 21.
Speaking to the daily, Canadian skip Kerri Einarson spoke highly of the Turkish team, saying, “They made good shots against us. We won, but it was not an easy win.”
Canada beat Turkey 8-4 on March 20 in a world championship match at the CN Center in Prince George, British Columbia.
Curling, nicknamed “Chess on ice,” is a sport in which two teams, each with four players, slide stones on a sheet of ice toward a target area that is segmented into four circles. Each team has eight stones, with each player throwing two.
Curling was played by ice skaters in Turkey unprofessionally until the Turkish Curling Federation was established in 2016. There are two curling leagues, one for men and the other for women, with 10 teams in each of them.
The matches of the leagues are played every February in the country’s only curling arena in the eastern province of Erzurum.
“Turkish team’s leader Dilşat Yıldız, and the rest, Öznur Polat, Berfin Şengül, Ayşe Gözütok… They all came here from Erzurum and [the neighboring province of] Erzincan,” Toronto Sun highlighted.
Yıldız and Polat, the backbones of the national team, are two school teachers working in Turkey’s east, practicing curling for the last six years together.
“Canada came face to face with Turkey for the first time in history. No question that curling is spread worldwide,” the daily added.
“Turkish team is like any other playing at this level,” said Canadian athlete Einarson, who pitched against Turkish skip Yıldız on March 20.
“It was nice to compete with them,” noted the Canada third Val Sweeting after the match.
Following three years of local organizations after the establishment of the federation, Turkish national men’s and women’s teams advanced into the “International B category,” roughly called “a second league,” in 2019.
In 2021, the women’s team was promoted to compete in the “International A category” with the leading national curling teams.
Gaining three wins in nine matches, the national women’s team became seventh in the European Curling Championship in November 2021 and earned the right to attend the World Championship in Canada.
Wining the European trophy in Norway after competing in the B category in November 2021 is the Turkish national men’s curling team’s highest success until today.
Turkey also hosted curling qualification matches of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics in October 2021, with more than 300 players from 22 countries visiting Erzurum.